Building a Habitat Pond


That done, we let the water in the existing pond dry out. It had not been dug properly, the sides were way too steep, and the surrounding areas needed to be shaped to a much more natural slope.

By the late summer of 2020 the old liner was full of dried out muck, and we were able to start removing the whole thing with the aid of some heavy equipment in order to reshape edges to a much gentler slope, and dig out the area for the bog .

Since a bog also has to drain, but slowly, it was lined with scraps and pieces of the liner, which we punched some holes into. Then we laid in layers of sand and peat moss. Once we created the rocky walls and edges into the bog we topped it off with a special ‘acid soil’ mix, and then planted it with native plants that like their ‘feet to be wet’.

In February of 2021 we laid in a whole new liner for the pond.

And then started filling it with water.

The rocks and stones we chose to edge our pond have really rough surfaces, which will help all sorts of water plants to colonize. We built rocky ‘waterfalls’ and underwater aeration systems. The waterfalls are all solar powered; and just the sound of running water attracts a lot of birds. The pond was also full of Pacific Treefrog tadpoles, which also brought in birds like Mallards and Egrets, and Crows, who seem to scope out every opportunity for food!

A Egret White Egret is hunting along the beachy edge of the pond.

The heat of summer, and warm water encourages the growth of algae. We skim that off from time to time, but leave the algae on the sides for a day or so, to allow any small creatures in it to escape back into the pond before the algae goes on our compost bins.

In the heat of summer the water level of the pond drops dramatically; to try to slow own the evapotranspiration we created shade by suspending ‘sails over the pond. We’ll remove them when the weather cools, and hopefully, the rainy season begins!

We created a berm on the driveway side of the pond as a visual ‘barrier’, and started planting native trees and shrubs in May of 2021. This berm is being irrigated with m-p rotator sprinklers set to spray in a narrow pattern.

White Alders, Big-leaf Maples, Sycamores, Box Elders, and Elderberries will
help create all-important shade as they mature. Shrubs such as Nine-bark,
Buttonwillows, and Twinberries will enhance the pond edge habitat; and planted
amongst these are a variety of nectar and seed producing plants to offer still
more resources for insects and birds.
The bog was planted out with Mule-fat, Seep-spring Monkeyflower, Cardinal
Monkeyflowers, Yerba Mansa, and Pt. Reyes Checkerbloom. By May of 2022 we
added a variety of pond-edge and emergent plants. One pathway at the pond
edge is planted with Sedges, Goldenrod, and Yellow-eyed Grass.